Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Sydney Brown


Literacy skills impact academic achievement for school-aged children and almost every facet of modern day life thereafter. Low literacy achievement affects college acceptance, college completion, employment, housing, and socioeconomic status to name a few (Ford & Moore, 2013). Regrettably, the literacy skills gap between Black and White students in America has remained virtually the same for the past 20 years. Factors such as race, gender, socioeconomic status, and teacher quality contribute to the sustainability of literacy gaps. Scholars such as Ladson-Billings (1995a), Gay (2010), and Hammond (2015) endorse the use of culturally responsive pedagogy as an approach to reduce achievement gaps. There is no shortage of studies about culturally responsive teaching (CRT), achievement gaps, or African American males; however, there is a gap in the academic literature about how to operationalize CRT from theory to practice. This research maintains professional learning communities (PLCs) are the gatekeepers for school improvement and have the potential to provide teachers with the job-embedded professional learning needed to improve CRT capacity. Using a transformative lens, the researcher (a) investigated literacy teachers’ perceptions regarding CRT; (b) identified how middle school literacy teachers differentiated instruction for African American males, and (c) developed recommendations for professional learning and supports for literacy teachers of African American males. Convergent mixed methods design was used to collect data in parallel, analyzed separately, and then merged to make inferences about common CRT perceptions, behaviors, and strategies employed by literacy teachers in moderate- to high-poverty schools.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.